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Master Chef - ANYONE besides me watching

I got pulled in I don't know why, I swore to myself that I wouldn't watch yet another cooking competition

I'm pulling for Fran the stock broker)
I think that Felix may give him a run for his money

I want the "dude" Tali with the hat to leave - (that was not a risotto, that was rice pudding with cranberries and walnuts and stuff!)

what's worse? David not washing the morels enough, or making something that's not even what they wanted the contestants to make?
Wrong call made there
I thnk they kept teh Tali dude for the controversy and pot stirring he'll cause (it'll make good TC)

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  1. I'm surprised there aren't more threads on this either. I like MC better than Hell's Kitchen.

    Anyway Felix looks like a good front runner. She has restaurant experience and has good knowledge of classic skills which she applies to her style of cooking.

    She even blasted David Mack and Tali as two people who don't know how to cook a risotto. She called them out before the judges did, or that's how it appeared.

    David Martinez seems to have a bit of heart and soul to his dishes where as Felix is very calculated.

    Christina - It's not going to get any easier for her. The time constraints and the pantry are not set up for blind people. She can't just look and say "Wow they have "this ingredient" I think I will use that. I hope she gets far because I love to see people overcome such disabilities but I can't help but think, she won't get close to the end.

    The bottom 3
    I thought they chose the right bottom 3
    David Mack and Helene both had undercooked rice but David with the mushroom grit had to have been worse. They did spit his out.
    Tali needs to eat a piece of humble pie. Just because you can use it, doesn't mean you should. They didn't mention his rice was under cook but it didn't even look like Joe ate it.

    Tali - looking at his bio burger recipe on the MC site shows he's going to give us complexity or just complicate everything into a big giant mess. Seems like he may have trouble editing

    Monti was close to the bottom, she may have even been 4th worse but I liked how Graham gave her some constructive criticism. While she has never made or had risotto she wasn't the worse. She looks like she's going to break down any moment though.

    Frank did really well and I like him, but risotto is more his forte then others so I expected him to do well.

    Ryan may have a taste issue in terms of plating, and style. He doesn't seem to recognize when he food is good and when it is bad.

    Scott learned a good lesson and the judges praised him for it.

    Still a few in there we didn't get to see or hear from.

    51 Replies
    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

      I was eliminated Tuesday night on MasterChef!

      1. re: ajrossi

        HEY! We have a MC participant as a Hound! Being a Boston-area inhabitant, I was hoping you and Anna would *both* make it through - but congrats to both of you for getting to the top 100. Looking forward to seeing how Anna does. :-)

        1. re: LindaWhit

          She is in there swinging! the show was a total blast!

          1. re: ajrossi

            If Felix would have picked Clam Chowder I bet Anna would have knocked it out of the park. Still looks like she did pretty well even though they didn't show her risotto getting judged.

            1. re: Sandwich_Sister

              Frank had the right idea putting clams in his Risotto! no clam chowder? make Risotto with clams! Anna made a lemon zest risotto with mint Chiffonade and pan seared Bay scallops which were flawless.
              We picked up some perfect scallops at Bomsters in Stonington CT last weekend so we'll be posting the recipe on BraveApron.com as soon as Fox gives us the go!. Risotto is one of her favorites so she nailed it, got her through to top 16!

              1. re: ajrossi

                I'm curious, AJ - without giving away anything you're not allowed to (and please don't give out any spoilers) do the judges taste every dish in the early rounds with 16-18 people, or do they taste as you are all cooking the dish and they're walking around asking you questions, and *then* make the decision based on those tastes and the plating?

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Yes, AJ, please give us some insight! Would love to know more about GR, Joe, Graham, from someone who sees them off set. And how the process really works. My husband has considered trying for this before.

                  1. re: GreenDragon

                    Gordon Ramsay is unbelievable, that man knows positively EVERYTHING about every possible dish put in front of him. When you get there it quickly becomes clear you are not going to talk your way through anything. He is honest and direct and remarkably compassionate as well, did you see the clip with Christine Fox posted on MasterChef.com? it was when she made her Apple Pie. Gordon is remarkable and has gained even more respect in the aftermath than we had prior to the competition. Whats neat when you get there is seeing how the judges are really enjoying themselves with each contestant, they seem to appreciate all walks of life, the stories behind the contestants and food executed well by non-professional, home cooks. Anna and I went in with our signature dishes back to back, they chat you up in your 5 minute presentation (which seems more like 30 seconds) and really are all great guys. Gordon is everything he seems, super high energy, full-throttle 24/7. We were talking about his energy on Fox Boston two weeks ago. I had said if you could harness the energy in Gordon Ramsay you could power a small city, its 100% accurate!

                    We absolutely LOVED Joe! both of us really liked him, (not just because he went to Boston College!) people have their opinions about how he comes across on the show. While not a chef he has an incredible palate has tasted just about everything. If you want credentials? he just came out with a fantastic book called "Restaurant Man," anyone who reads it will get an true understanding of how remarkable his accomplishments have been and how he has paid his dues from a very young age in the restaurant business. He knows the business inside and out with 27 restaurants and 3 vineyards and even thanks Mario Batali (his business partner) for being such a "cheap *#$!!". Its an incredible read for anyone interested about the ins/outs of the restaurant/culinary world. Take a trip to Eataly next time you are in NYC if you have not already been, it really is our favorite stop when we are down there and every major city should have one!

                    As for Graham, he is absolutely remarkable. Without going into any detail, many of our fellow contestants, including Anna and I were totally blown away at how quickly he could look at a dish (before he even tasted it) and come up with a totally different artistic twist for presentation. I am not just saying this either, he has such creative genius it blew us away, which is part of the reason he was the youngest 4 star Michelin chef ever. Next time we are in Chicago we will definitely stop by the restaurant(s). Graham has an unbelievably commanding presence in front of you, and I am 6 "2! he is personable and kind and is the furthest thing from cocky.

                    I can't say anything negative about any part of the experience, even after getting split up from my beautiful wife in front of 10 million viewers! everyone must get eliminated but one person right? it was such a great experience, if your husband is thinking of doing it tell him to give it a shot but also tell him to be on his game! also have lots of friends over as you will burn through a ton of food at home if you think you have a chance of making through the top 100!

                    1. re: ajrossi

                      This entire post made me smile, aj. :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        :) one more thing definitely worth noting is the other contestants. Everyone there is equally passionate about food and their cooking. You have 100 finalists who ALL have a common love. That was one of the most incredible experiences to have come out of the show. We have friendships with people all over the country now and were really bummed out that were so spread out! we wished everyone lived closer and have been in touch since. We had a preview party at Stephanies on Newbury street in Boston where Dave and Tony from Season 1 showed up as well as Christian from Season 2. Such a blast!!!

                        1. re: ajrossi

                          One question, aj, if you can answer it. Do all the contestants really believe that being on this show is the most important thing that's ever happened in their lives or are they encouraged/directed to say that?

                          1. re: chicgail

                            Honestly, everyone there wants the title of MasterChef, that title carries tremendous weight in the culinary world. There is no better vehicle for giving the average home cook an actual voice in the culinary world. Cooking and food is a love and passion for everyone there so being on MasterChef presents a potentially huge opportunity for everyone there, allowing a passionate, skilled home cook to pursue a career they have always wanted. Almost everyone you see on the show had full-time jobs, or were full-time students, Moms, etc. As the show is geared toward Home Cooks very few have had significant careers in the culinary world. To answer your question specifically, the producers never asked anyone to say anything scripted. They would however ask standard questions such as why being on MasterChef is impt to you etc as any employer would ask when applying for a job in any standard interview. The viewing audience would want to know why being on MasterChef is important to a contestant so they make sure they are asking the right questions but never, ever told anyone what to say.

                            1. re: ajrossi

                              OK, my next question for you, AJ, and for your wife, Laura :::grin::: is - is this why you both tried out for MasterChef? Are either of you / both of you looking to open a restaurant / start a catering business? Time for a career change?

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Right how we are just enjoying cooking together for friends and family! the passion we both share making and enjoying food has been a huge part of our relationship. While we are both back to work full-time we are not ruling anything out!

                              2. re: ajrossi

                                I can totally get that. As a foodie, a chowhound and a food blogger, I can relate. Thank you.

                        2. re: ajrossi

                          What? No food spat or thrown against the wall? Nobody is referred to as "donkey?" Gordon must be slipping in his ways. lol

                          1. re: dave_c

                            think there have been some scenes/clips of food being spit out! just thankful it wasn't mine!

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        Hi Linda,
                        No spoilers here! the judges do both, they taste as you are flying through the challenges and when you are finished to give a fair assessment of everyones dishes. They are remarkable on picking things up immediately which is incredible to see. Basically, your final plating is what it all boils down to, what you have decided to put in front of them to taste! I'm surprised the armpits in my pink linen shirt are still intact as I was sweating bullets with Joe and Graham in my face!

                        1. re: ajrossi

                          HI aj! Joe does give a steely stare doesn't he? gives me the shivers and I'm just sitting at home watching

                          1. re: cgarner

                            100%, in the "who blinks first" game, Joe will never lose

                          2. re: ajrossi

                            p,s I know they don't have time to show ALL the food being tasted, but that risotto you described sounds lovely!

                            1. re: cgarner

                              hoping Fox will post all the recipes!

                              1. re: ajrossi

                                Hey AJ,
                                I tried out in the winter for this seasons MC and didnt make it. I was wondering if you had any tips on how to make it a further in the selection process. I 'thought' my dish was fantastic for the casting. I made a braised pork dish that I chilled then cut into squares then pan seared served with a ancho-chile sauce.

                                It seemed that they were really looking for someone with that TV personality or that story that would be great for TV. I didnt have a great story to tell so maybe that will be what I need to prepare better for next time. Any thoughts? What was the kicker for you to go so far into the show?

                                1. re: FoodExpression

                                  That's really difficult to answer, we saw some fantastic looking dishes come through the casting call. I don't know exactly how the judges chose contestants, as you know when they are coming by to taste your food in the casting calls you are not allowed to see what they have written. I kept it simple and served my dish exactly how I would at home, I figured they were casting home cooks and not executive chefs right? I wish I knew the criteria but can tell you every single person (with the exception of a small handful) who made it to the top 100 can really cook. Reality sets in when you start chatting with the other contestants who have every intention of walking off with the title of MasterChef.

                                  1. re: ajrossi

                                    If it were a radio show, I would make the cut. :-)
                                    However, for TV, I would suspect on-screen appeal is a factor.

                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      Flattering as I dont think I have any on screen appeal!

                                      1. re: ajrossi

                                        Curious, once you are off the show are you still in the loop?
                                        And congrats for making the cut!

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          lots of tweeting going on during the shows, Graham and Gordon were on last Mon/Tues night tweeting with fans and contestants (old and current) all contestants handles from this season @MC@(first name), Joe wasnt tweeting.

                                          1. re: ajrossi

                                            ajrossi, I'm really happy to hear that. Seems only right that the contestants be included all the way thru. Your bringing alot more interest to the show just by being so generous to share the experiences you've had.

                                            1. re: ajrossi

                                              I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure it's @MC3....

                                              Yeah, just checked the TiVo again and it's @MC3Name.

                                              1. re: acgold7

                                                changed it in the next entry ex @MC3AJ

                                      2. re: ajrossi

                                        Perhaps the fact that you and Anna are married and are *both* superb cooks had something to do with it. They've had other related family members on a past season, IIRC. It heightens the "drama" a little bit, I suspect.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          well at some point, when it comes down to it one of us has to go...

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I'm confused. Who's Anna? Isn't AJ married to Laura?

                                            1. re: Bob Brooks

                                              AJ's wife is Anna Rossi:

                                              http://www.fox.com/masterchef/bios/co...

                                              Look further upthread for AJ's first post and my reply to him. Unless AJ is married to TWO women, I think Anna is his only wife. And from what I've seen so far, she's probably more than he can handle already. ;-)

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Here's what's got me confused:

                                                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06...

                                                1. re: Bob Brooks

                                                  Now I'm confused no one named Laura or AJ appears in the contestant list LindaWhit linked.

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    AJ won't be pictured there, as they only put up the final 18 contestants. But at least I know that I'm not crazy calling AJ's wife by her name, Anna. So it looks like HuffPo messed up with her name. (Seriously - how HARD is it to do a bit of research to know what her name is!) AJ, I doubt HuffPo will change the video, but hopefully they'll change the article.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      The only important thing is that AJ understands it :)

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        and Anna!

                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                        emailed them, we'll see. Stay tuned for tomorrow night!

                                                    2. re: Bob Brooks

                                                      they have her pic up but have decided to change my wife's name! I'll shoot them an email!

                                                    3. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Big typo on the Huffington Posts part. The picture is of my wife Anna, there was a Laura on the show who made squirrel pie! I'll have to shoot the Huffington Post an email!

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        only one woman, the lovely Anna Rossi...

                                                  2. re: ajrossi

                                                    AJ

                                                    Can I ask if you auditioned via Boston Casting?

                                                    I got geared up to try out for Season One via them but had a last minute work conflict and couldnt show up.

                                                    Would like to try again and wondered who here does the auditions ...

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      C. Hamster, I'm not sure that auditions are always done in every major city for each season. You might have to go to where they're casting *if* you get picked to audition:

                                                      http://www.fox.com/casting.php

                                                      http://www.masterchefcasting.com/ (although that doesn't give any future info; just says that Season 3 casting is over).

                                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                                        Linda is correct, they had casting calls in Boston (actually Cambridge) at Le Cordon Bleu. Keep checking MasterChef.com and they should tell you where the casting calls will be for next years season. Lots of people drove to Boston from CT, RI, NH, ME.

                                                        1. re: ajrossi

                                                          Thanks. I dont think there was a masterchef.com for the first season. Boston Casting sent out a call .... I'll look at he MC site

                                              2. re: ajrossi

                                                OK, that makes sense. At times, it seems that they are picking the top and bottom 3 based on plating alone...but I know time constraints are such that they can't show them tasting all of the dishes.

                                                Graham seems like a teddy bear, but it also seems he can be very exactly in his judging. Joe tries to intimidate with that raised eyebrow glare. Although it's beginning to be a bit of a caricature - at least for those watching. Being in front of it is probably as intimidating as he means it to be. ;-)

                                                And what about Chef Ramsay? Anything you can reveal about him?

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  see above comments :)

                                  2. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                    Regarding Christina - and who can help but root for her? - I wonder if her begin in the game will affect the challenges? This was the first season, for instance, where the final batch eliminations didn't include a chopping contest.

                                  3. Yes, I've watched all the seasons so far. I enjoy it more than I enjoy Hell's Kitchen, or even Kitchen Nightmares, as it seems to really have good information both for the audience and the contestants. Honest critiques. Less smack talk. Me likey.

                                    1. There was a bit of chatter about it on the most recent HK thread (mostly that people were waiting for HK to be over to watch MC). Perhaps people were waiting to talk about it until they got down to the final 18?

                                      I'm watching it. So far, so good. Was surprised to see David Mack go home for his sandy risotto, but I *think* the dried cranberry one at least was edible (i.e., the risotto *was* cooked properly).

                                      Christina - I don't think she'll win, but I'm pretty impressed she's lasted through two rounds so far.

                                      Tali - dislike. Too cocky - and doesn't seem able to edit. I almost choked on what I was drinking when I saw the dried cranberries going into a risotto.

                                      Monti Carlo - dislike her name - so contrived. She always seems like she's about ready to burst into tears as well. Don't they position her as a "homemaker?" I can't recall if that's her, or someone else they list as "homemaker" in the confessionals. Using The Google comes up with more info - looks like she's a TV/radio host, stand-up comic, voice over artist and has just landed a gig on Phoenix radio.

                                      http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mairym-mo...

                                      There's something about Felix that sets me on edge. Not sure why. Not sure if I have any favorites yet.

                                      I'm not overly thrilled to see that GR is going to be yelling at the contestants next week. PLEASE don't make it HK-like.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        I agree. The part that I like about this show is that, for the most part, the judges are supportive and helpful to the contestants. From what I've read, they actually TEACH cooking techniques throughout, so the cooks go home (even if eliminated) having gotten excellent cooking instruction. My husband would love to compete, but he said he'd have to break an iron skillet over GR's head at some point.

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Interesting blog article by Joe B here. Including the part about the drama and gimmicks. Good for him.

                                          1. re: GreenDragon

                                            Which blog article by Joe B, GreenDragon?

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              So sorry, I thought I had posted it! http://www.people.com/people/article/...

                                              1. re: GreenDragon

                                                Thanks!

                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                            And I agree about Monti, Tali and Felix - they all set me on edge. I did sort of enjoy the look on her face when they didn't like her dish, very crestfallen after all her cockiness. However, I also liked her no-crap attitude and chutzpah, as well. We shall see! I disliked Max (the rich kid) last season, too, and he did rather well. Evidently he's gone on to open his own restaurant. Ben had been my favorite to win last season.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Linda Whit, I totally agree a with your comment about Monti... quit with the quivery lip and teary eyes... buck up and COOK DAMN IT! (and yes, she supposedy is the "home maker")

                                            2. Thanks, cgarner, for starting a thread separate from Hell's Kitchen--just can't "do" that show ever again, but Master Chef is watchable.

                                              1. I think it's quite intersting that Ramsey says Beef Wellington is the scariest recipe to make. That it's packed with difficult techniques to master and can go wrong at many points and yet the monkeys on Hells Kitchen seem to make some every night.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                  The monkeys on HK screw it up every night.

                                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                    That almost has to be calculated. I don't know that the contestants prep. the components of the Wellingtons in their entirety. I believe Ramsay's sous-chefs are responsible for making the duxelle, the puff pastry, etc., but all that aside, once the components are made the Wellingtons themselves are very easy to assemble. I remember on the first or second show, which was all I could stomach, the Wellington dough was "RRRRRRRRRRAAAWWWWW, YOU DONKEYS!!" So they had to re-make it two or three times, and each time the result was the same. If they were going by Ramsay's methods and recipes, it should've been successful, and on the re-do, if they gave them a little more heat and time, (which I HOPE, but admittedly don't know) there's no reason in the world they shouldn't have worked out fine. It just smacks of premeditated sabotage designed to make for good TV. On the other hands, perhaps the contestants are such buffoons that they didn't make the necessary adjustments, in which case they pretty much got exactly what they deserved.

                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                      What I've seen Gordon say in an interview is that the Wellington, risotto and scallops are constants on the menu because they are simple but also easy to screw up if your timing is off. Especially the Wellington: you don't know for sure if it's cooked until you cut into it, and then it's too late, so timing and attention are crucial. Also all three show their mistakes readily, so they are easy to "grade" as it were. But I've never made any of the three dishes, so this is solely going from what I've seen and heard.

                                                      1. re: ennuisans

                                                        And it's all valid, ennuisans. Although I didn't see the interview, I agree that every one of those dishes is simple enough, but they basically require constant attention. I maintain that you can look at a Wellington and judge whether or not it's done by checking the pastry only, which should be dry and layered when it's completely done. But I can also appreciate that it's mighty difficult to give constant attention to something when a chef is braying at you and people are running around like mice in a maze.

                                                  2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                    JB I was thinking the exact same thing! I seriously think that the risotto would be the scariest dish to make... way more things can go wrong (as we witnessed with this past episode)

                                                  3. I'm curious about all the new set designs. A bar, a dining area, a lounge for those to hang when they are safe. The entire "room" seemed re-done and stylized for reasons other than cooking at your station and wowing the judges. Anyone have any notes on why the MC set has these new areas? Even the back pantry appeared larger.

                                                    1. David Martinez makes me nervous.... I like what he's cooked so far (I questioned gooseberries in risotto, but the judges said it was excellent) but since he went into round two, he looks like he's going to snap out at any moment...

                                                      don't succumb to the Tali Drama David! Don't do it!!

                                                      1. I'm watching, and thanks AJRossi for your inside info, makes it more interesting to watch knowing that the judges are real nice.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: smartie

                                                          +1. Really appreciate your insights, AJ, even tho' you can't divulge secrets!

                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                            Thanks! looking forward to the next Episode for the Military challenge! they are running spots now, you can also see the clips on MasterChef.com

                                                            1. re: ajrossi

                                                              AJ,
                                                              Can I ask you what you made for your open casting dish? And what did your wife make?

                                                              1. re: FoodExpression

                                                                I made a roasted yellow pepper with anchovy puree and grilled toasts, my wife made butternut squash ravioli with crispy pancetta and wilted arugula

                                                        2. Fun to have Mr. Rossi chiming in. I much prefer this G. Ramsey show to all of his others. Would love to cook for Graham; Joe, not so much.

                                                          1. I watch Masterchef US, but I have to say I greatly prefer Masterchef Australia. There's something about the Australian version that I find far more "feel-good" but also a bit more honest. When stuff is poor, it's not like they don't tell contestants - but it's much less mean than I feel the US version comes off. During the Australian eliminations, it's common for the safe contestants in the gallery to follow along the recipe (they are also more upfront about what's done with or without a recipe...) with those cooking and give advice/help from above. Whereas the cut-throat editing of the US version I find far less appealing.

                                                            I watch the US version - but I definitely don't enjoy it as much. Jamie Oliver appeared in a recent episode of Masterchef Australia and it appears as though some pretty well respected Australian chefs do regularly. It's hard to imagine any of these chefs appearing on Masterchef US.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                              Agree. I think a lot of the US version has to do with the editing. In the AU and UK versions you never hear trash talking amongst the contestants. I know a lot of it is posed questions "How do feel about so and so doing so and so" then film the clip like it was a spontaneous comment.

                                                              I think the level of cooking is higher on the other shows and the judges are more mentoring.

                                                              Your right about the guest judges too. The AU version even had Thomas Keller and his restaurants are in the US. Do not think you'll see him on the US version.

                                                              1. re: chris2269

                                                                Yeah, I hate the trash talking. I see it more and more in Hell's Kitchen. That's NOT why I liked the show. i liked seeing the people create interesting dishes with strange restrictions. I didn't tune in to see Trailer Trash Talkers vs. Trailer Trash Talkers.

                                                                1. re: chris2269

                                                                  Now THAT is a damn shame. Would love to see Thomas Keller on the U.S. version!

                                                              2. To AJ Rossi - not sure if you're aware, but there are separate threads for the follow-on shows - week of 6/17 is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/854686

                                                                and this week (Week of 6/25) is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855840